It was a bright and sunny day for an Island Hopping Experience
Visiting a province that comprises of roughly 1780 islands will leave you feeling the need to go on an island hopping tour at least once. Mathematically and emotionally, that will never be enough!
Port Barton, one of the villages situated in the north west coast of Palawan, is surrounded by a lot of islands and islets that will give you the opportunity to experience the island (and reef) hopping.
This was my first time to do an island hopping tour.
It was my first time to snorkel… EVER!
For an avid fan of the sea who gets intimidated once she learns that can’t reach the floor, this was a momentous event!!
As a solo traveler, what I like about joining a tour is that you’d get to meet people for as long as you’re not afraid to start a conversation. There were 11 tourists in the group, which according to the Czech couple we were with, was quite a big one.
That morning was very promising, with heat and sunshine towering over us. The boat left at around 9 am, which of course, prompted the start of the tour.
We first went to the clearest reef (as seen from above water level) I’ve ever encountered in my whole swimming/snorkeling life: the Aquarium Reef.
It was so clear and lovely, that it was almost impossible to give in and just jump!
But, as inviting as it was, I had to wait for a few minutes until the boat moved it to a clearer spot without the medusas (jellyfishes). It was so clear that they were hard to miss. I didn’t trust them and that intimidated me to do my could’ve been momentous first snorkeling experience.
We moved twice just around the corner and finally settled in when they were almost (I still saw 1 or 2) out of sight.
The definition of exotic is a bit complicated for me. It seemed weird and fascinating both at the same time.
The first thing I’ve noticed as we were approaching the island is the clear and shallow water with an interesting rock formation between the Exotic Island and the unknown island nearby.
Together with a small crowd, we spent a good amount of time here because this is also where the lunch was served in most tours.
View from the Exotic Island
The unevenness of the rocks made it a little (really little) challenging to walk to. It could either get rough or slippery.
This is probably my favorite among the islands we had visited that day. We were able to stay here longer and there wasn’t much of a crowd too (there was a group that left a few minutes after we arrived).
PLUS, not only does it have a hammock, a swing by a tree, and clear waters…
On its side is a reef where you could also snorkel to!
The Secret Paradise
The island, which was mostly favored and raved about by almost everyone I had previously met, but somehow didn’t really attach to me.
The mom of the German family I met in Camiguin loved the German Islands.
The Dutch + German-Turkish travel buddies/couple I did the whale shark trip with were enchanted by it, being able to camp overnight with the island all for themselves and being woken up by the beautiful sunrise with their tent left opened.
The Czech couple in that day’s group tour had a good quality time with the island too. They visited it the day before without any other groups in tow, as they were there early in the morning. They previously saw a very big turtle to the point that when they saw a smaller one, it wasn’t as crazy exciting for them.
This is the island where the boat tours settle for an overnight camping trip. With the positive things I’ve heard before getting there, I couldn’t brush off the idea of camping there as well.
But, as we arrived in the island, there was actually a big group (apart from the smaller ones) that were going to camp there as a part of their HS batch reunion’s celebration.
I was quite relieved that after being a bit restless the night before (and that morning), I decided not to do the camping trip. Little did I know that it would rain the whole night as well!
As our last stop, we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Just around 30 minutes, if I’m not mistaken. I didn’t do much except spend the last few minutes chatting with the rest of the group, walking around and seeing the island for myself. Being there was the start of my “slow down and step back” moment as we were approaching the end of the tour.
I was good to go after that, acknowledging that I’ve already got “just the right amount of vitamin sun and sea.”
Boats along the beach at Port Barton, with the aftermath of the rain as a backdrop
The rest of the day went by so fast like as if it didn’t happen. By the time we were approaching the main beach town of Port Barton, it started raining cats and dogs. It almost felt like the whole bright and sunny island hopping day was just a blur–almost an illusion.
But of course, it wasn’t and I can still remember everything vividly.
Good to know:
Tour Price: 700/person
*Tour includes lunch, life jacket, and snorkel and mask)
Environmental fee: Php 30/person
*Mandatory, good for 7 days
Duration: 9 am – 4:30 pm
9 am – departure from Port Barton beach proper
4:30 pm – estimated arrival at Port Barton beach